Get started as a litter picker

There's lots of litter picking opportunities across Barnsley that you can get involved in. To make sure you feel supported, we've put together a helpful guide on how to get started.

Where to volunteer

Our ward alliances and area councils arrange litter picks. Take a look at their social media pages if you'd like to volunteer.

You may also want to litter pick at our parks and green spaces.

If you want to know which ward your area is in, take a look at our online map and select the option to display wards.

Organising a litter pick

When planning a litter pick, it’s important to think about:

  • the location
  • access to resources
  • how you'll promote the event
  • what you'll do with the waste you've collected
  • whether you have permission from the landowner

Promoting a litter-picking event

If you’d like us to share your litter picking events you can tag the Everybody Think Facebook page

You should also think about contacting local community groups and volunteering groups in the surrounding areas to see if they would like to be involved.

How to access resources

What are purple bags?

In Barnsley, any litter collected by volunteers litter must be placed in a purple bag rather than a bin bag. Placing your rubbish in one of our purple bags will allow our teams to know it’s from a litter pick. Purple bags can be placed out for collection near any visible street bin.

How do I request purple bags and equipment?

If you need to request some purple collection bags or equipment for your litter pick, please contact your local area team.

You can find the details of how to do this on our ward alliances and area councils webpage. 

What to do with the waste you've collected

If you've done or are going to be doing a litter pick, you can ask us to remove the bags of litter you've collected by filling in our online form below. This includes purple bags.

We aim to collect rubbish from litter picks within two working days.

Things you might need to tell us about 

You might come across things you need to tell us about when you're out on your litter pick. We deal with all aspects of environmental crime, such as graffiti, fly-tipping, and dog fouling. Our aim is to keep the borough clean and tidy and improve residents perceptions of the communities they live in.

What to do if you see fly-tipping

Dumping rubbish or unwanted items in the street or on open land – fly-tipping – is illegal.

If you see some fly-tipping on your litter pick you should report it to us.

Find out more about fly-tipping and how to report it to us.

What to do if you come across a build-up of litter

We provide litter bins in public places and clean streets regularly to avoid a build-up of litter. 

We also organise clean-up campaigns with community groups, ward alliances and area councils and work with schools to make children aware of the problems caused by littering.

Find out how to report a problem with litter and view our litter cleansing schedule.

Business waste responsibilities

Find out more about business waste responsibilities.

Other things you might need to tell us about

Keeping in touch with others

There’s lots of ways you can keep in touch with other volunteers and share information.

Police and communities together (PACT) meetings

PACT meetings are an opportunity to speak and raise any issues you have in your community with council staff, the Police, and partners. You can help to shape plans for your area.

Find out more about PACT meetings

Barnsley's Environmental Forum

Barnsley’s Environmental Forum is made up of volunteers from across the borough working to:

  • Look at how we can all contribute to improving our local environments and create a more sustainable Barnsley.
  • Create two-way conversations around environmental issues.
  • Co-produce new materials to support volunteers and reduce environmental crime.

Our volunteers have helped us to design this webpage to support other's to get started. If you'd like to know more about the environmental forum, email us at

Barnsley's Environmental Forum

Share your story

We’d love to hear your volunteer stories and share the results of your litter-picking and volunteering events.

Photos and case studies can be sent in to the Everybody Think Facebook page. You can let us know things like, how many people took part, how long you picked litter for and how many bags were collected.

Kath's story

'Since retiring I have the time and energy to help keep my area tidy. I've lived in Worsbrough all my life and I enjoy keeping the area as it was - a joy to walk in and explore. I've worked with schools to also encourage them to look after their environment and be proud to live here by not dropping litter and recycling.'

Kath Evans, Worsbrough Tidy Group.

Kaths story - Worsbrough Tidy Group

Other volunteering opportunities 

Find out about other ways you can volunteer in Barnsley: